Choose Your Side

Whose side are you on?

And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?”

So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”

And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshipped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?”

Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so. —Joshua 5:13-15

This man Joshua has been likened to the first SAS soldier! Joshua started out as a brave young soldier and eventually ended up as a great leader. He led the army of Israel (God’s people in the Old Testament) into battle and, in this story, against the fortified city of Jericho.

Before this fight God spoke to Joshua through the commander of His own heavenly armies. Joshua saw he had his sword drawn, so naturally he shouted the standard ‘Who goes there?’ challenge. He wanted to know if God was on his side. The response was remarkable. “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”

Whose side was the commander on? Not Joshua’s or Jericho’s. He was on God’s side—the point being that Joshua should be as well. It wasn’t a case of God being on Joshua’s side, but Joshua being on God’s side. Joshua realised his allegiance to God was more important than his allegiance to his country, so he fell on his face, saying, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” When Joshua showed this submission to God above all others, he was told he was on ‘holy ground’, and was accepted into God’s presence.

Being on God’s side

We can ask the same question of God when we have to go into battle: is God on our side? What if He is for the other side? The truth is, as Joshua realised, that for every one of us who gives our lives to God, we will be fully accepted by Him forever, and He will always be on our side. God doesn’t support countries, movements or organisations. He is the God of His people (those who trust Jesus):

In [Jesus] you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance (a place in heaven). —Ephesians 1:13-14

When we give our lives to Jesus and trust His death to pay for our sin and His resurrection to give us new life with God, we are “sealed” by the Holy Spirit “who is the guarantee of our inheritance”. We know that God is on our side, because He has marked us as His own possession, and we are sealed so that we can’t lose this standing with Him.

No matter what stands we may have to make or battles we may have to fight, let us make sure that first and foremost we belong to God. When we do, we know He will be with us forever, and that we have a guaranteed place in heaven when we die.